Therapy is an important tool in learning to overcome some of the most difficult issues in our lives. However, with so many different forms of therapy available it can be an overwhelming task to find one that is the right fit. Luckily, we have created this article with the intent to showcase six types of therapy, how they work, and which one is best for specific mental health disorders.

Your Mental Health

Photo by Adam McIntyre

Understanding Therapy

Therapy has been around for thousands of years. From the first Greek “milieu therapy”, [1] to later periods in our history, humans have connected and shared solutions to psychological problems through therapy. But, it wasn’t until Sigmund Freud and his work on psychoanalysis that the term was accepted and popularized in social cultures. [2]

Fast forward a few decades, and most people have heard of therapy. In fact, not only had people known about therapy, but over 30 million Americans had accessed therapeutic services in the past 2 years. [3] This rise in public awareness towards mental health not only benefits humankind, but it also creates a wave of new therapeutic services. So, finding the “Right Fit” may seem challenging at first, but it is not. Below are six types of therapy and their benefits to mental health.

Read More: 5 Best Mental Health Benefits of Art Therapy Sessions

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT for short, is a fast acting therapeutic solution. CBT focuses on the patterns of the mind, and how these mental patterns affect our lives. The basic explanation of CBT is that we have many negative thoughts that create stressful situation for our lives. So, with CBT, we are able to reroute our mental patterns towards better solutions.

Ways CBT can help your mental health:

  • Refocus on the positive
  • It can be completed quickly
  • Learning better mental habits
  • Can help in areas where medicine cannot
  • CBT can be provided to people easier (Groups, individual therapy, and apps)

CBT is most commonly demonstrated through individual sessions with a clinician. Most courses are short, and only last between 5 and 20 sessions. [4] CBT is an awesome type of therapy that can be done quickly, efficiently, and provide excellent results.

Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy, as we have previously discussed, was popularized by Sigmund Freud in the late 1800s. However, because of its popularity, psychoanalysis is usually the most misunderstood type of therapy. Psychoanalysis is, at the most fundamental level, a therapy to understand the unconscious mind.

Many therapists, counselors, and sober living companies use psychoanalytical therapy. However, because of its longevity for patients, many people choose to follow a different path to therapy (like CBT). Patients usually attend weekly meetings with a therapist for many years in order to see the benefits of psychoanalysis.

Psychoanalysis can help patients in the following ways:

  • Focusing on and experiencing a full range of emotions
  • Understanding the root of our problems
  • Talking of our history, and become open to our past
  • Exploring new relationships
  • Finding the cause of our fantasies

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy is an action-centered, extremely focused type of therapy. The behavioral theory is to understand the systematic events in our lives- behaviors, situations and emotional responses. [5] When we understand these events, according to behavioral theory, we are better suited to find solutions through behavioral therapy.

The most common ways of experiencing behavioral therapy is by attending weekly meetings with a therapist. The major goal in meeting with a behavioral therapist would be to understand and change behaviors. Because behavioral therapy is so focused on one aspect of change (behavior), the benefits can be drastic.

Below are the biggest benefits to behavioral therapy:

  • Understanding your behaviors
  • Learning how to change bad behaviors
  • Becoming accepting of your mistakes
  • Realizing the affects you have on others
  • Creating new behaviors and creating a new life because of this

Read More: Five Best Activities for Kid’s Mental and Physical Health

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy is all about talking. Specifically, the talking in psychodynamic therapy is used to allow patients to free associate and hopefully land on some obvious subconscious thoughts that can be changed.

Most forms of psychodynamic therapy require consistent meetings with a licensed therapist. However, some of these meetings may be unstructured. This will allow the patient to be consistent with therapy, talk freely, and remain open with a therapist.

The benefits of psychodynamic therapy:

  • Understanding reoccurring behaviors by free association (without directly talking about them)
  • Exploring and learning about yourself deeply
  • Becoming comfortable with looking at yourself honestly
  • Leading a healthier life
  • Continuing to grow emotionally and spiritually

Family Therapy

Family therapy, as you might have guessed by its name, is focused on helping families in a group setting. Families of all sizes and shapes struggle at times. And for these families, finding group therapeutic services can be extremely beneficial.

Some forms of family therapy focus on specific problems (addiction, alcoholism, abuse, etc…), while other family therapy sessions may focus on a general disfunction (communication, anger, family resentments, etc…) Regardless of specifics, family therapy can be extremely helpful to all families, whether they have obvious dynamic issues or not.

Major benefits of family therapy:

  • Brings families closer together
  • Allows families to be honest with each other
  • Shows everyone involved that each member is an important part of the puzzle
  • Provides solutions for community problems
  • Will help forge new relationships with others

EMDR Therapy

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) was initially created as a form of psychoanalytic therapy to help with traumatic events. After successful sessions with EMDR, patients tend to reorganize their emotions, behaviors and concepts towards past negative events.

EMDR allows people to completely change their associations with past traumatic events. By removing distress, arousal, and negative beliefs towards trauma, EMDR then replaces these responses with new, positive reactions. [6] EMDR requires consistent meetings with a licensed therapist.

Best parts of EMDR for mental health:

  • Gives us a new outlook on life
  • Creates newer feelings
  • Removes remorse, anger or sadness from past events
  • Allows us to live less anxiously
  • Brings us closer to people and events we otherwise wouldn’t encounter

In Closing

In closing, its important to note that each type of therapy can have its pros and cons. In stating that, finding a type that works for you is the most important part. So, don’t be afraid to give one or all of these therapies a try. Life is too short to be miserable!

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